Teaching Genetics and Molecular Biology Using Lactose Intolerance

Playlist ByBioInteractive
Contains8 Resources
Favorited By
15 Users

This playlist can be used to teach several core concepts in genetics and molecular biology by having students collect and interpret evidence to explain the biology of lactose intolerance. The topics covered include enzyme and carbohydrate biochemistry, the molecular basis of inheritance, and the regulation of gene expression. The activities provide several opportunities for students to collect and analyze data, including a wet lab.

By completing the resources in this playlist, students will be able to:

  • Design a controlled experiment to test for enzyme activity.
  • Describe how enzymes catalyze only specific chemical reactions.
  • Determine the inheritance pattern of a trait from a pedigree.
  • Use the central dogma of biology to explain the molecular mechanisms by which mutations can affect protein production.
  • Give examples of how gene expression can be regulated at different points in the process. 

This playlist can be used in a general high school biology course. Implementing this playlist should take about eight to nine 50-minute class periods.

Visit the Storyline Viewer to see the storyline (“Genetics of Lactose Intolerance”) using this resource sequence.

Patterns in the Distribution of Lactase Persistence
Topic
Evolution
Science Practices
Resource Type
Activities

In this activity, students use data from a scientific paper to map the frequency of lactase persistence across different continents.

To use this resource as part of this playlist:

  • Give each student or group several rows of data from the “Phenotype Data” sheet in the “Student Materials.”

  • Have students make pie charts showing the frequency of lactase persistence and nonpersistence in their populations.

  • Project the “Map” image on a whiteboard, then have students place or draw their pie charts on the map.

  • As students look at the global distribution of pie charts on the map, ask them to record three observations and two questions.

Estimated Time: One 50-minute class period.

Lactose Digestion in Infants
Topic
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Anatomy & Physiology
Resource Type
Videos

This animation serves as an anchoring phenomenon for students to explore concepts related to the regulation of gene expression.

To use this resource as part of this playlist:

  • Show the animation.

  • Have student groups share two to three things they noticed in the animation or three things they wondered about.

  • Have students write answers to the following questions:

    • Do you think most infants make the lactase enzyme? Why or why not?

    • Do you think most human adults make the lactase enzyme? Why or why not?

    • How might the lactase enzyme be related to lactose tolerance and intolerance?

    • What do you think causes lactose intolerance?

  • Collect student ideas on chart paper and revisit them throughout the remaining resources in this playlist.

Estimated Time: Half of a 50-minute class period.

Milk: How Sweet Is It?
Topic
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Anatomy & Physiology
Science Practices
Resource Type
Activities

In this wet lab, students explore the role of the lactase enzyme in breaking down the disaccharide lactose.

To use this resource as part of this playlist, have students complete the lab activities and the analysis questions 1–6 in the “Student Handout.”

Estimated Time: One-and-a-half-50-minute class periods.

“Fixing” Gene Expression
Topic
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Genetics
Resource Type
Activities

In this card activity, students explore the central dogma of biology to understand the molecular mechanisms by which mutations can affect protein production.

To use this resource as part of this playlist, combine it with the Central Dogma and Genetic Medicine Click & Learn (resource 6 in this playlist) as follows:

  • Print and cut out one set of “Cards without labels” per student group.

  • Have students order the cards as described in the “Educator Materials.”

  • Have students visit the Central Dogma and Genetic Medicine Click & Learn. They should explore the “Central Dogma” tab only and complete steps 1 and 2 in the “Student Worksheet.”

  • Have students revise the order of their cards if necessary, label the steps and molecules on each card, and share out with the group. 

  • Have students revisit the Central Dogma and Genetic Medicine Click & Learn. They should explore the “Genetic Medicine” tab and complete step 3 in the “Student Worksheet.”

  • Have students complete questions 1 and 2 in the “Student Handout” of the card activity.

Estimated Time: Half of a 50-minute class period for the card activity only.

Central Dogma and Genetic Medicine
Topic
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Genetics
Resource Type
Interactive Media

In this Click & Learn, students deepen their understanding of the central dogma of biology by exploring real examples of genetic diseases and treatments.

To use this resource as part of this playlist, refer to the notes accompanying the previous activity (resource 5 in this playlist).

Estimated Time: One 50-minute class period for the Click & Learn only.

Pedigrees and the Inheritance of Lactose Intolerance
Topic
Genetics
Evolution
Resource Type
Activities

In this activity, students determine the inheritance pattern of lactose intolerance using pedigree analysis.

To use this resource as part of this playlist, have students complete parts 1 and 2 of the “Student Materials.”

Estimated Time: Two 50-minute class periods.

Regulation of the Lactase Gene
Topic
Genetics
Evolution
Resource Type
Interactive Media

This Click & Learn helps students form and communicate an understanding of the regulation of gene expression.

To use this resource as part of this playlist, have students write their own version of the Click & Learn for a museum exhibit, making appropriate claims and using evidence from throughout the set of resources in this playlist.

Estimated Time: One to two 50-minute class periods.